The Chiefs: Taking Advantage Of The Draft

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1 Feature From The Bleachers

In 2013, 254 college prospects were selected in the NFL draft at the end of April. In the draft of 2012, 253 prospects were taken. In 2011, 254. In 2010, 255… and you get the idea. Through the draft alone, during a four year period, over one thousand players are introduced to the league. And that’s just though the draft process. If your team hits or misses in respect to making the right choices here, it tells nearly the whole story about the future, or lack thereof, of your favorite organization.

For years now I’ve used a number of different sources to help inform myself about the skill level of the available draft picks in any given year. I’ve also used these sources to help me create my own ranking system. Plus, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching the game tapes and highlight reels of specific prospects to gain a better understanding of where they might rank among other prospects in their same class.

While I enjoy reading and watching sportscasters and writers take aim at the players which the Chiefs could end up drafting, it’s obvious that the task of, 1) placing the prospects in the order of their desirability and 2) being able to move up or down the draft board by establishing working relationship trade partners… that these two tasks play a monumentally critical role in being able to locate and then pin down the prospects you want for your own team.

In the past four seasons, the Seattle Seahawks have done a good enough job of this to produce a world champion. Here’s a summary of their past four drafts.

The first fact that pops out about the Seahawks drafts is that they’ve had the privilege of drafting 39 prospects in the past four drafts. Since the average is just over 28, then understanding that 39 prospects new to the team is way above average.

Now, their picks at a glance.

Seahawks Last 4 Drafts

During this four year period for the Seahawks, 8 out of 39 picks taken, were defensive backs. Roughly 31%. It’s clear that GM John Schneider learned his lessons well in Green Bay where he either severed as Personnel Analyst to the GM or Director of Football Operations between 2002 and 2009. The lesson here is, this is a passing league and your defense better be able to stop the opponents passing attack… even if you’re facing the greatest passing offense in the history of the game. Check.

On to lesson two.

In his first three seasons (2010-2012) in Seattle, Schneider was also able to locate enough high quality players to provide head coach Pete Carroll with half of his starters. Those players can be found in blue above. Jaye Howard, the one player found in red above, is now a Kansas City Chief. Howard was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft by the Seahawks but was claimed off of waivers by Chiefs GM John Dorsey just before the 2013 season.

Now, let’s take a look at the K.C. Chiefs last four drafts.
Chiefs Last 4 Drafts

While ten players from the past four drafts have found the field as a starter for the Chiefs, you’d have to make qualifying statements about Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson Rodney Hudson and even Eric Fisher.

Although the offensive line began the season poorly, by the year’s end they were considered by many to be a strong suit especially when compared to the defense. Still Jeff Allen, although a starter should not be listed among the team’s positive impact players. Although Rodney Hudson was serviceable all year, the same goes for him. Eric Fisher began the year looking like a 7th round pick, not the first pick in the first round. So, I’m not going to include them in the positive impact department either. Donald Stephenson, by my calculations, had a very good year and deserves a shot as a starter and may be the most important reason we’ve seen the last of LT Branden Albert in Kansas City. So, was Stephenson a positive impact player in 2013? Yes.

Although Javier Arenas was traded for FB Anthony Sherman who had a good year for the Chiefs, this chart is for showing who was drafted by the Chiefs in the past four years and is still not only on the roster but continues to be a positive impact starter. In that case, Alex Smith doesn’t qualify either.

To fairly compare the Chiefs draft in the past four seasons to the Seahawks past four drafts means you can only count: 1) Eric Berry, 2) Dexter McCluster, 3) Jon Asamoah, 4) Justin Houston, 5) Dontari Poe and 6) Donald Stephenson.

Now, if you subtract Dexter McCluster and Jon Asamoah from this list because neither of them is currently on the Chiefs roster, plus there’s a good chance neither of them will be in 2014, then the list of impact players that the Chiefs have drafted in the past four years shrinks all the way down to 4… for the 2014 season.

When looking over John Dorsey and Andy Reid’s 2013 draft and considering Eric Fisher’s very pedestrian performance, then the other draft picks are going to have to pick up the pace to have any hopes of improving a roster still in need of great starters and great depth at many positions. Following the Seattle Seahawks dominating Super Bowl performance, many of their players could be heard in interviews saying virtually the same thing, “it was one of our goals to bring a championship level performance.” The Chiefs are going to need to get many more players to meet that same level of performance that their own Pro Bowl nine are already bringing to the table.

Waving Goodbye to the Waiver

The Chiefs spent last offseason as the number one team that gets to consider any player dumped by another team… any player hitting the waiver wire. This year, the Chiefs will be #23 on the list of teams who are allowed to consider a player who is out there, many times, a player who can not only make the roster but, even start. Players like, CB Marcus Cooper, CB Ron Parker and TE Sean “The Bearded Wonder” McGrath.

While the waiver wire is not directly related to the draft, many of the player who come through the wire and become available, are younger players who were part of each team’s evluative process in April (now May) leading up to the draft.

In fact, many fans are unaware that every player on every team is evaluated and ranked by every other team. In the event that a player from another team becomes available by trade or the wire, each team’s GM and personnel director go over their notes and must decide whether or not they are interested enough to make a move.

Seattles War Room Wall

“The central command post for the Seahawks’ draft preparation and selections, the team’s War Room contains all the research and rankings for the upcoming NFL Draft, set for Thursday through Saturday. [Photo by Corky Trewin, Seahawks.com] Pete Carroll said of the room, ‘We spend more time in there than anywhere else this time of year.’”

Looking over the Chiefs 2014 draft picks (a 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th) and seeing there are only six, it would be advantageous for the Chiefs to trade down if they can pick up extra draft choices. Having pointed this out in previous posts I’m also aware that many fans believe it would be better for the Chiefs to take the best player they can take in the first and leave it at that. Now, if you’ve got a top ten pick, I probably wouldn’t disagree with that approach. However, this draft is a strong draft filled with a boatload of non-seniors who make this draft strong in several areas.

Couple that fact with the drafting record of the now Super Bowl champion Seahawks and you question if the Chiefs would be better off with more picks than higher picks. Once you raise the question the answer becomes more apparent. The Chiefs (mathematically) could have the two picks the 49ers have in the second round (#s 24 and 29) for their 23rd pick in the first round. Jimmy Johnson’s trade value chart shows the values translate readily.

It’s been pointed out that it’s the Chiefs dumb luck that 2012, and once again in 2014, QB is a strong suit of the draft. However, in a draft (this draft) strong at several positions, including QB, Chiefs fans should feel encouraged by the fact that many other teams — teams attempting to fix their QB position — will be using up valuable draft picks ahead of them taking quarterbacks which will allow other high quality position players to fall to them.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com asked five team executives (E) which position was the deepest in the 2014 draft draft and E#1 said cornerback, E#2 said corner and linebacker, both E#3 and E#4 said offensive linemen and E#5 said wide receiver.

Deep deep, deep in CBs, LBs, OL. WRs and of course QB.

Wow… too bad the Chiefs don’t need CBs, LBs or WRs.

I know there are many more mock drafts to be done prior to May’s three day event but it’s hard for me to recall when it’s been easier to do a mock. Meaning… when I go round by round to consider the players available during my mocks, there are far more quality player to choose from.

I know Bill Belichick and the Patriots have their own ranking system, as all teams do, but every year he takes a player that leaves me scurrying to Google to find out who in the heck he just drafted. Every team keeps their own ranking system and the Chiefs appear to be in good hands with John Dorsey and their director of player personnel Chris Ballard (and his crew of merry men).

Let’s hope that they’re so good that after three more seasons the Chiefs will be celebrating a Super Bowl victory like the Seattle Seahawks did after their fourth year… following head coach and front office changes.

Alright Addict fans, cutting Dunta Robinson was a good start this off season so, if you were GM for the Chiefs… what would you do next?

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